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Unread February 4th, 2011, 12:35 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Philadelphia area
Posts: 1,143
Arrow School Voucher: 2nd Look

An old friend explained that corruption happens when an agency controls its fees, referrals, evaluations, and programs. Most school districts do exactly that. They should have to pick one of the four.

More important: we are short of talent in this country and vouchers could make it easier to find and nurture it.

1. Intellectual ability is distributed NOT in a bell-curve but in a “power” distribution. Power distributions have “fat tails” – more very high scores and more very low ones than are predicted by a bell curve. Thus, any neighborhood is likely to house more brilliance than expected. It will also display more stupidity. The trick is letting either reveal and develop itself.

2. American culture “percolates.” That is, about three generations often describe familial careers from poverty to wealth and back to poverty. Just as the top position on the music charts can be reached by talent+ work, so can membership in the Union League.

3. Issue vouchers to every home…a voucher that covers the entire costs of the core academic program at any school in the state.

4. “Good” teaching is a matter of energy and skill, not a matter of continuing education and salary. Most teachers like their job most when their students learn, make eye contact, take notes, ask questions, pass tests, and say thank-you. This has been true for 200,000 years. While our mom’s gathered berries, our granny’s taught us without an education degree. And our kids – designed by God and nature – learned from them.

5. Many students seem to do better in same-sex classes. They will learn more and clothing will be simpler. Uniforms?

6. Expect bright, energetic teachers to find students and other teachers who are also bright and energetic. Islands of talent are to be expected, recognized, and used.

7. There are to be no gifts, no affirmative action, no “don’t bug me and I’ll pass you.” Not even a “We’ve always gone to Princeton, my kid HAS to have an A instead of the B+.” Under this system, Obama would never have made it through Columbia or Harvard and wouldn’t have to hide his records. And fewer make-up courses would be needed for freshmen who never learned the material in the first place.

8. Surcharge parents of Johnny and Judy if they take band, chorus, theater, football, or A-V production. Also if they want sex-ed, gay studies, or ethnic history.

9. Real estate taxes – none when the family home-schools.

Bottom-line: Vouchers should simplify districts and make them work. They also give parents the chance to advance their own child by socially “aborting away” all those other kids who chew gum, steal sneakers, sing rap, and race to get their unwashed hands up Judy’s or Joelle’s skirt….

Draw back: we choose our friends and mates on the basis of our similarities to them. IQ is often the most powerful factor in those choices although even neck, but not wrist, circumference can be a factor. And mothers sometimes feel it is more important for Johnny to have friends instead of good grades. The outcome is that we all pull down the good but harass the inept into being better.

References – all by bright, honest people:
Finn, Chester E. (2008) Troublemaker: A Personal History of School Reform since Sputnik. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Lynn, Richard & Tatu Vanhanen (2006) IQ and Global Inequality. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit.
Mathews, Jay (2009) Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books
Murray, Charles (2008) Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality. NY: Crown.
Rushton J. Philippe (2005) Ethnic nationalism, evolutionary psychology, and Genetic Similarity Theory. Nations & Nationalism. 11(4), 489-507.
Sowell, Thomas (1993/2003) Inside American Education: The Decline, the Deception, the Dogmas. NY: Simon & Schuster.
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